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New Center for Positive Leadership

November 21, 2023 Erica Hulse
Staff members of the Center for Positive Leadership stand together for a posed photo in a conference room in Frazier Hall on the University of Louisville campus.

CPL website

We have built our work on leadership around virtues,” Academic Director Ryan Quinn, PhD, shared when discussing the goals of The Center for Positive Leadership. “Courage, compassion, honesty, [and] humility…anything that’s a standard of excellence that you could call a virtue. The idea is to get people to not only try to be honest or compassionate…but to do so in a way that breaks norms, to exceed expectations.”

With a positive, innovative, and emotionally intelligent approach, the Center has and continues to tear down traditional frameworks of leadership. Founded in 2018, the Project on Positive Leadership was launched thanks to initial funding from a gift provided by former university Athletic Director Vince Tyra, a repeating joint gift for ten years from the Department of Athletics and Adidas, as well as gifts from the Sam and Bonnie Rechter family.

After only five short years, in April 2023, the University board’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee unanimously approved a proposal to create the Center for Positive Leadership. Emerging from the Project for Positive Leadership, the newly formed Center is grounded in research from positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship and focuses on increasing positive leadership globally. To best achieve this goal, the Center actively promotes interdisciplinary research, provides instructional tools on positive leadership development to individual, businesses, and university instructors, and hosts events such as the Tyra Family Distinguished Conversation Series and Leadership Tools Showcases, presenting a suite of affiliated professionals and professors.

Additionally, the Center focuses on providing opportunities with their signature initiative, local WorldChanger groups. This endeavor consists of individuals motivated toward improving the world in some specific way, irrespective of positions or rewards, and who are already working to make that change. These teams take seriously the adage to “think globally but act locally” to make our community better, and the Center empowers these teams by removing barriers to collaboration through six months of project design, team design, measurement, training, coaching, and accountability structures. Joanna Erny, Chief of Staff for Metro United Way, spoke about the profound and positive impact this collaborative experience had on her staff. “Each of our team members has learned new ways to expand leadership skills and work through challenges,” she explained.

With a newly designed website highlighting the Center’s mission, strategic plan, upcoming events, Center updates, and a comprehensive overview of the Center’s Local WorldChanger Teams, those interested in learning more about the Center’s offerings, participating as a WorldChanger team member, or wish to donate to the Center, can now do so with ease.

The Center is staffed by Dr. Ryan Quinn, Academic Director, Ramie Martin-Galijatovic, Program Director, a student intern, Davis Fritz, and an eight-member board of advisors. They can be reached at or 502-852-9403.

Follow the Center for Positive Leadership on social media via LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube

About the UofL College of Business:

Founded in 1953, The UofL College of Business fosters intellectual and economic vitality in our city, region, and the global business landscape. Our academic programs, research, community outreach initiatives, and commitment to student success inspire lives and businesses to flourish through entrepreneurship, innovation, critical thinking, diversity, and the power of people.

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